Legendary Levon Helm, Drummer and Singer of The Band, Dead at 71
Levon Helm, legendary singer and drummer for the acclaimed and influential rock group The Band, died on Thursday, April 19th in New York City of throat cancer. He was 71. He passed away peacefully surrounded by his friends and bandmates. A very sad note signed by his daughter and wife had appeared Tuesday on the official website for multiple Grammy winner Levon Helm: “Levon is in the final stages of his battle with cancer,” said the note. “Please send your prayers and love to him as he makes his way through this part of his journey. Thank you fans and music lovers who have made his life so filled with joy and celebration…he has loved nothing more than to play, to fill the room up with music, lay down the back beat, and make the people dance! He did it every time he took the stage.”
Levon Helm had reached the final stages of his battle with cancer, which was first diagnosed in the late 1990s. He recovered, but it took him many years to recover his singing voice. At last Saturday’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cleveland, former Band guitarist and songwriter Robbie Robertson told the audience, “We all need to send out love and prayers to my Band mate Levon Helm.”
Mr. Helm, a native of Arkansas whose father was a cotton farmer, was an important member of The Band, lending his steady beat and weathered voice to the group’s signature hit songs, such as: The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, The Weight, Rag Mama Rag and Daniel and the Sacred Harp. The Band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.
Read more about Levon Helm’s death in Rolling Stone here and in the New York Times here.
Listen to Levon Helm’s Finest Moments: From The Weight to Atlantic City. Eighteen tracks from The Band co-founder’s incredible career: The Rolling Stone Playlist
View the Slide Show: Levon Helm Through the Years here.
View another Slide Show: Levon Helm’s Musical Journey here.
Levon Helm and The Band: The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (1969)
(Best Viewed in HD Full-Screen Mode)
Levon Helm and The Band: The Weight (Woodstock 1969)
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The Band with The Staple Singers: The Weight (From “The Last Waltz” 1978)
Levon Helm’s Life After Cancer
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